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tv   Happening Now  FOX News  January 5, 2011 11:00am-1:00pm EST

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vacation for a day. who wants to go back to washington? martha: i think i'll go back on vacation for a day, who else can do thatful bill: it's going to be an important day, stay with us throughout the day as we cover that. martha: we'll see you tomorrow. bill: we're on the radio with brian tomorrow. about 11:20, half an hour from now. we're going to give him a hard time. martha: we always do. bill: see you later. martha: bye everybody. jenna: hi everybody. we start with a fox news alert today, we're now confirming white house press secretary robert gibbs will be moving on from his job. he has worked with the president since his senate campaign back in 2004. gibbs is expected to become an outside political adviser to the president, but the question that remains today, who will replace him? for more on this, james rosen is joining us at the white house. james. >> reporter: jenna, good morning. this had been rumored in the works for some time. it doesn't come as a real
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surprise. perhaps only the timing of it. robert gist gibbs as you just noted has been one of the president obama's closest advisers dating back to his days as illinois state senator, he served as candidate obama's top aide during the contentious 2008 democratic primary campaign and then of course during the general election for the presidency. though gibbs could be quickly responding to reporters' questions, his tenure as secretary was not marked by many gaffs. perhaps the most memorable phrase when he derided the quote unquote professional left for the occasional compromises with the gop. gibbs will not be leaving until after the state of the union address probably in early february, will serve as surrogate speaker for and outside adviser to president obama and in those cases -- capacities gibbs will likely remain a continuous presence on cable tv news programs. this comes as president obama considers a larger reshuffling of the white house team, interim chief of
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staff pete rouse who took over after rahm emanuel left to run for mayor of chicago may turn over the reigns to william daley, former commerce secretary under clinton and power broker who has wall street credit at j.p. morgan. no successor has been announced to gibbs. the lead be candidates include two deputies, bill burton and job earnest and jay carney, aide to vice president biden and a a former reporter for times magazine. jenna: we will await that press briefing. thank you very much for that news story. we start with breaking news but there's sure to be a lot more of it today. jon there sure is. jenna: hi everybody i'm jenna lee. jon: i'm jon scott, happy wednesday to you, we are in the fox news room, "happening now", history unfolding in washington.
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live to capitol hill, as the country returns today to 2-party government, the 112th congress about to be sworn in. republicans, of course, make up the vast majority of this freshman class, the gop says it will press for spending cuts and cuff choice -- tough choices on the economy. jenna: that's what they say. let's take a look at the balance of power. in the house the republicans take charge, 242 seats, to the democrats' 193 as you see on your screen. that means a change at the top. jon: just about two hours from now it becomes official when house speaker nancy pelosi hands over the gavel to gop stalwart john boehner. jenna: he has plenty of family on hand to see that happen. republicans also making gains on the senate side, leaving democrats with a very narrow 51-seat majority but still a majority. jon: and one of those senate republicans is my next guest, the man who defeated alexi giannoulias for president obama's seat, mark
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kirk was sworn in a month ago, that gives him a bit of seniority over his colleagues, senator mark kirk of illinois joins us now. as this new senate and house convene today, what is job one from your standpoint, senator? >> cutting spending. i think the number one vote of this congress will be on the debt limit extension bill. it gives us the chance as economic conservatives to put an antispending reform that will reassure economists and remove this danger of trillion dollars deficits in our future. jon: what about the health care bill? some republicans have said that undoing the health care bill is pretty important, there's to be a vote on it next week, right? >> yeah, i would predict that the house defeat health care by a near veto-proof majority, but in the senate, we're still controlled by a democratic majority under harry reid, so it faces difficult if not daunting prospects here. my hope is to put forward other reforms like lawsuit reforms, to lower health care costs, and defending your right to buy health
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insurance from any state in the union if you find a plan less expensive or better for your family or small business. jon: you have seen the popularity ratings of congress, they are at all-time lows, or were the last time i looked. can this congress do anything to change peoples' perceptions? >> as long as it sticks to its guns of spending restraint as discipline. this is the austerity congress. and what we need to do is ratchet back on the spending machine of washington to prevent a kind of a greece or portugal or spain-like future for the american people. jon: harry reid, the majority leader in your body, wrote an op-ed piece in which he said that the republican party has been taken over by extremist elements, and he says that congress, he thinks, can get some things done, especially on the senate side, if the republicans reject those extremist elements. what do you say to that? >> i think that's a bit of a
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temper tantrum on his part. his forces were heavily defeated in the recent election. i think there is opportunity for bipartisan cooperation. the president is putting forward three trade agreements with south korea, colombia and panama, we should support him on that, there are rumors the president will put forward a line item veto proposal in the state of the union address. we should support him on that. and the president says he's against pork barrel earmark spending and we should end that with his help. jon: one of the incoming democrats apparently plans to introduce legislation maybe as soon as today ending the filibuster in the u.s. senate. what's that all about? >> i think they are not having a vote on that today because they don't have the votes and i don't think we should turn the senate into the house. the house of representatives under the founding fathers' vision is all about having the majority get its will and translate into legislative action. but the senate, under our founding fathers' definition, is all about protecting minority rights.
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i especially think the democrats would rue the day they override the senate because if they are ever in the minority we would -- they would be driven over by the very rules they seek to put forward. >> at a time when unemployment hovers near 10 percent in this country and has been for a long time, can you take ten seconds and make some kind of a promise to the american people for this term ahead? >> my hope is to advance things like my small business bill of rights. we know how the government hurts small business, number one employer in america, we should advance the small business bill of rights for a growth agenda to bring jobs and obviously when you have more jobs, you'll have more taxpayers and that will help out our decifit situation. jon: mark kirk is the newly elected republican from illinois who took over the seat held by roland buris, formerly held by senator obama. jenna: a whole lot of politics to get to, a few stories ahead of the swearing in ceremony we expect in about an hour.
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new details in the murder of john wheeler, former adviser to three republican presidents -- to three republican presidents, his body surfaced in a delaware landfill and witnesses saw him in nearby wilmington, 36 hours early. eric shawn has been following this closely. what's the latest? >> reporter: we have breaking news, the enquirer now reporting that the police believe that john wheeler may have been involved in a potential attempted arson and may have been linked to some explosive devices, the newspaper is reporting, that were found at a home that wheeler and his wife had been sue, the neighbor, because they were building a house that was blocking their view of the delaware river. so this is some new breaking news of the philadelphia enquirer, saying they may have linked him to some it will arson a few days before his murder. but we also have reports now from people that say that leading up to his killing, he was dazed and confused
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and that people thought he was homeless, that the condition of this former high ranking government official less than 14 hours before his body fell out of that garbage truck into the delaware landfill. police have narrowed down the time of the killing, saying he was seen on a videocamera outside the downtown delaware office building at 8:00, thursday night, december 30th, the video shows he was confused and had earlier refused help from people who had to try to reach out tom. this is, as you can see, from this video, he seems to be staggering, wandering around in this video as you can tell. witnesses who encountered him and say they did in the 48 hours before his killing describe a troubled man who was walking around downtown wilmington, disheveled, disor ended and they say he told them his briefcase was stolen. in fact a pharmacy worker said he asked him for a ride, he looked upset, courthouse security guard
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say he claimed he had been robbed, he was rap bling about his car, his brother, his mother and a parking attendant said he wasn't wearing his coat in the cold weather, that he was in fact carrying one of his shoes in his hand. >> he really didn't look good to me so i was acting like are you okay, he was like no, he was just trying to get warm. >> he just didn't seem like he was like really there. he seemed like he was kind of disoriented, actually, i kind of felt he probably had dementia or something. >> police still don't know who may have thrown his body into the dumpster in newark, delaware sometime after he was seen at # 30:00 that thursday night. his body turned up at 10:00 a.m. the next morning. newark is 15 phaoeults or so from wilmington, the people who encountered wheeler regret they did not call police or recognize him further, learning after he was after the killing surfaced, but this, according to the philadelphia enquirer, this is quite shocking, and
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police linking him to incendiary devices perhaps planted at the home of a neighbor. jenna: we'll continue to follow that story. thank you. jon: some extreme weather to tell you about in northeast australia. flood waters are still rising, expected to peak sometime today. but the water level will remain high for days. state officials are holding an emergency meeting to deal with that nation's worst flooding in decades. officials say an area the size of california, arizona, and nevada combined is under water now. some 1200 homes, destroyed, nearly 11,000 others damage damaged. officials also warn people to stay out of the water, because snakes and crocodiling could be lurking. the catastrophic flooding has left towns virtual islands, cutting off 22 in all. officials say the recovery could take many months and potentially more than a year and cost up to $5 billion. >> unbelieveable there if
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you think about the size of that. you mentioned california. those recent rains that soaked southern california may be to blame for the giant sinkhole we're about to show you, it nearly swallowed a parked car in los angeles county. if you take a look, that car is actually dangling over the side of a 12-foot sinkhole. the massive hole also prompting evacuations of several homes in that area. firefighters were able to pull that car out and thankfully as we mentioned it was a parked car so no one was in the vehicle at the time. jon: just when folks in the new york area and parts of the northeast are starting to see the sidewalk again, the northeast is bracing for yet another snowstorm. a major blizzard a week or so ago really hampered t-pgs here. meteorologist janice dean live in the fox weather center, j.d. >> reporter: attention new york city sanitation workers, we might have another storm on our hands! jon: those are the guys who caught some heat, huh? >> absolutely, and we're still recovering. i want to show you some video, jon scott, of people
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who are now just seeing their cars a week later, this video from brooklyn, i think we have it, hopefully, where snow was dumped by our friendly sanitation department plows, and vehicles were just buried. the washington cemetary off the bay parkway, we had some of those headstones were toppled. i mean, just a disaster. i know you've seen some of the footage all week long, new yorkers are pretty angry that things weren't cleaned up. and again, they're just starting to see their cars a week later. and now, of course, here we go again, although it won't be the big monster that we saw last week. just want to point out where we are seeing moisture working its way across the southeast, no big accumulation here in terms of heavy rain, and no severe weather expected. we have a clipper system that's going to bring more lake effect snow across the great lakes and into the northeast and that clipper is what we're going to watch heading into the weekend because we think it's going to intensify and bring the northeast more snow.
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how much more snow? we don't quite know yet. my predictions are it's going to be a new england event, but new york city, you could see anywhere from 3-6 inches and of course, we don't need the same thing that happened last week to happen this week, jon scott. jon: all right. i have a snow blower this year so i'll take care of your driveway, first time. no more shoveling. >> famous last words. oh, jon scott, you're going to be over at my place! jon: j.d., thank you, talk to you again. jenna: to manhattan for a dangerous thief, the fbi, showing surveillance video of a man robbing a bank armed with a machine gun. they believe it's not his first robbery and may not be his last. harris faulkner has the details coming up for us next. also it's the fourth largest lottery in u.s. history and we're now learning the $355 million jackpot just got even pweurg. we'll tell you why and where the winning tickets were sold, next.
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jon: breaking news out of new york, the fbi is releasing new surveillance pictures of a very scary and heavily armed bank robber. he's wearing a mask, as you can see, but agents hope someone can help identify him. the fbi believes he may have robbed other banks in the area. harris has the latest for us. harris. >> reporter: what they're saying is this is a particularly dangerous situation because he was, quote unquote, armed to the tee, he had obviously the machine gun you see in his hand there and he also had a handgun. he pointed both of those and threatened a teller and one other person at the chase bank branch in hastings on hudson, a pretty swank area in westchester county. and this is considered to be a very brazen thing to do. you don't get a good look at his face but there were people who could possibly have seen him walk away or
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run away or however he got away. they say it was on foot, so they're hoping that people will be able to describe the man seen wearing a green camouflage jacket with a hood, orange goggles, black pants and hood at the chase bank, back in the morning, just before the opening, on december 17th. this is actually the second time, jon, they've released this video. they're hope to go trigger some response from the public. the tipline: because they think this guy may hit again, they want people to be object the look outand find this bank robber. back to you. jon: scary stuff. thank you. jenna: some like to see their name in bright lights on broadway, others will take a name plate and the new speaker of the house had a new sign above his door. just went up two hours ago and we have it for you i hope, it shows his name right above the entrance of his new office as speaker of the house. about two weeks ago, nancy pelosi took down her sign, a
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little like i said over two hours ago, this sign wasn't up, it just went up, and less than an hour from now the whole swearing in process for the new house, the new congress, takes place and of course when that starts to happen we'll take you there. john boehner, a new sign above his office. well, he had his first heart attack when he was only 37 years old, and dick cheney has suffered from heart problems ever since and now new concerns about the former vice president's health. we'll go in depth just ahead.
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jon: two very important reports out on jobs today, both potentially good signs for the employment market, the first showing layoffs in december fell 34 percent from november that, makes job cuts in 2010 the lowest in 13 years.
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the second report out showing private employers added 297,000 jobs in december, according to payroll processor adp, the people who cut lots of paychecks in this country. that is the biggest increase since 2001, and a very positive sign ahead of the monthly unemployment report from the government which is set to come out on friday. jenna: following that news, jon, today, at least two people in this country probably don't have to worry about ever working again. the lucky tickets of the now 380 mega million dollar jackpot told in -- sold in iowa and idaho. two lucky people out there. laura ingle is here. we've been talking all morning about it, but we've been talking about it, saying it's a $355 million jack pot and just went up to 38 million. how did that happen? >> that kitty grew suddenly when so many people realized just how big this winning would be. and because of that, it went from 355 to 380 last night, simply because so many
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people rushed to get in line. and it only took a dollar, one little dollar, and those people are now going to share, as you mentioned, that $380 million. jenna: that's a whole lot of money. and i'm sure folks in those states, idaho and washington, want to know who those people are, maybe they're friends! >> we don't know who they are yet and they haven't been identified. we have certainly been making those calls. but as you mentioned, one ticket was purchased in washington state, we understand, at a safeway store, lucky trip to the grocery store, the other in idaho. you might wonder what are the odds of winning the prize, according to the lottery association, the chances were one in 176 million, for perspective, your odding -- odding of getting struck by lightning are one in 150,000. the mega million jackpot is the largest -- fourth largest in u.s. history and second largest in the game's history and the largest was in 2007 when the prize reached $290 million. and in case you got it there at the deck, the winning
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numbers were four, eight, 15, 25, 47, and 42 was the mega ball number. there were 67 other players in 22 states that match the first five numbers, each winning big bucks, just not the millions. jenna: are you going to buy a lottery ticket for the sake of the story? >> i remember the billboard, you can't win if you don't play and i him thinking about it. you can only play mega million in a certain alt of states here in the u.s., 41 states, washington, d.c. and the u.s. virgin islands, so a lot of people were traveling across state lines to pick up their tickets and the jackpot has been reset to 12 million for this friday's drawing so i'm thinking i may skip the coffee, not that it cost a dollar, but -- >> jenna: put that dollar to work for all of us! thank you very much, laura. jon: there are new fears concerning the health of the former vice president. dick cheney has suffered
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from heart disease for many years, he had an artificial pump implanted in his pump last year to assist his natural heart, a device often used as a bridge until patients can get a full heart transplant. here's a recent picture of the former vice president, he looks much thinner, leading to speculation he might now be in need of that heart transplant. joining us now, dr. kantagani at long island hospital. the former vice president is 69. and it's my understanding that if he chooses -- well, if he decides he wants to have a heart transplant he needs to make that decision very quickly. >> he has to make the decision for the simple reason that he can't go on with some of these treatments that are usually used as a bridge to transplant. so basically what you're trying to do is trying to get these patients started on a transplant device, for lack of a better word, it's a sump pump that takes the
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blood out of the heart, sends it out to the rest of the body because your heart is not strong enough to actually have the blood go through, and a lot of these patients actually have problems that continue to go on, and you need a heart transplant. jon: that device, the ventricular assist device, he has one already, he had it implant -- implanted, as we said earlier, and it's not fail-safe. i mean, there are problems associated with it, problems like infection, for instance. >> that's one of the reasons why it is many times considered as a bridge to transplant. however, there are treatment modalities that are in the works, where we're trying to use therapy for the simple reason that there aren't enough people that are available to donate their hearts at the end of their life, and the need for the transplant, there's a supply-demand mismatch, that we don't have enough patients that can receive the heart transplants, so that's why they're trying to
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use these devices, which are the pumps, as a bridge to transplant. jon: dr. tejani, thank you, we certainly wish the vice president well as he recovers from this latest situation. he obviously didn't look so good in those last pictures. he's a much thinner man. >> one of the things that happens, you do tend to lose a lot of weight because of the medicines you're on and no matter how hard you try, the process that started this continues to progress unabated. jon: thank you. jenna: he served 25 years in a u.s. prison, convicted of spying for one of our closest allies and for the first time, israel is asking that he be set free. why now? a live report from jerusalem up ahead. as always at this time of day our live chat is hopping and harris is watch ing all of what you guys have to say. have you been chatting with these folks harris? >> reporter: i have. right now they're talking about giving advice to the tea party caucus freshmen. they have ideas. glen says harris, they need
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to listen to those who elected them, ken wells writes tea partiers, just keep weeding out big spending republicans, jim writes tea party members, remember we voted you in but we can also vote you out if you don't do the job we sent you to do. interesting stuff on the live chat now. go to fox news.cole and look for the top story. beneath it you'll see in red, happening now, we have a proper town hall, america's asking, if you have questions for our panel about the 112th congress or anything in politics you want to comment on, we want to include new the conversation, it makes us better at what we do when we ask the questions, jon and jenna. we'll get your stuff on the air. stay with us. we'll be right back. let me tell you about a very important phone call i made.
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as with all medicare supplement plans, you can keep your own doctor and hospital that accepts medicare, get help paying for what medicare doesn't... and save up to thousands of dollars. call this toll-free number now. jenna: a bit of a show within a show today, a special edition of "happening now," because it's the first day of the 112th congress, and that brings with it a major power shift on capitol hill as the gop takes charge of the house and makes
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big gains in the senate as well, jon. jon: there are a whole lot of new faces coming to capitol hill trying to find their way around the corridors. for a quarter of the freshman class this is their first job in politics. the impact of this new congress will reach far beyond capitol hill, all the way to the white house. jenna: we have team fox coverage of the very important day. doug is live at the white house on the brewing accountability battle between the president and congress. we'll start off first with shannon bream live at the russell rotunda. a big day for so many but a big day for john boehner specifically, he's promising to be a different kind of house speaker. how so? >> reporter: he's talking all about listening to the american people. it's something we've heard again and again from him. this is going to be a different way, a feel of governing. today he will become the 53rd speaker of the house. bus loads of his family and friends have arrived from ohio. he's going to do it with humility he says.
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he's talking about the fact that the american people have sent them here to do something, to do what the american people, not necessarily what lawmakers want. he is taking an interesting tone, the fact that on november 2nd the voters were less angry with republicans than with the democrats. here is a bit of what he'll say in his speech. the american people have humbled us, refreshed our memories as to how temporary the privilege to serve is. after all this is the people's house, this is your congress, it's about them not us. everyone on both sides of the aisle will be watching to see if that is the attitude that they continue with when it gets down and dirty as it certainly will be on a number of issues. jenna: one of the clashess will be over healthcare. the democrats are lobbying serious accusations, shannon. what is the latest in that whole debate? >> reporter: you know the house republicans plan to offer up an all out repeal of the healthcare next week. they want to get it to a vote on the floor.
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republicans have the numbers there. democrats say it's a dog and pony show. it will either get killed in the senate or if it gets to the president's desk he will not sign a repeal of this law. they are accusing the republicans of wasting taxpayers time and money. here is democrat rosa deloro. >> they are not going to repeal it. it is nothing but political theater, and we need to continue to point that out to the american public. >> reporter: democratic congressman chris van hal land is going further. he is a cushion the republicans with playing enron-like accounting tactics so they can deceive the american public about what it will cost them to repeal the healthcare law. that is the first battle that is keying up. a lot of harsh words. it will be a messy ugly fight, both sides acknowledge that. jenna: it will be a busy day and session ahead. shannon bream live for us. shannon thank you. jon: president obama recently
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suggesting he expects more partisanship than partnership from the incoming republican leaders, at least for now. they spent the first couple of years of the obama administration suggesting he's accountable for high unemployment and the growing deficit, so are we going to see the tables turn in the 112th congress? doug mckelway live at the white house. >> reporter: it's virtually impossible to determine whether there will be a better spirit of cooperation as we get underway with the first day of congress today. the watch word is pay very close attention to what they do and not to what they said. there are encouraging signs. the white house reversed course and removed the language in a medicare regulation that called for end of life planning as a part of an annual physical examination. this is what many republicans had referred to as death panels. that language is now gone. an encouraging sign. another encouraging sign the white house is in the midst of
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tremendous transition as we speak. robert gibbs announcing he'll be leaving as press secretary after the state of the union address. eight senior white house positions up for grabs. that may signal a new willingness to cooperate. and one more example, the president's own words aboard air force one as he returned from hawaii earlier in the week he said referring to the republicans, they are going to play to their base for a certain period of time. i'm pretty confident that they are going to recognize that our job is to govern and make sure that we are delivering jobs for the american people and that we are creating a competitive economy for the 21st century. jon, these are all good signs at the get go. jon: those are the good signs, what about the bad signs maybe that the two sides are not going to be willing to work together? >> reporter: well, there are many bad signs as well. shannon bream referred to some of them right there. republicans' desire to repeal what they refer to as obamacare. that's what brought many republicans to congress.
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they are going to want to tkapbt with the one to b rurbgs ng one. obama doesn't want to see the environmental regulations undone. congressman issa promising oversight hearings. and many republicans want the attorney general, eric holder out of office. we'll see where all this leads. the bottom line i think is to remember what the speaker of the house, john boehner, soon to be speaker of the house john boehner said during that 60 minutes interest view, he refused to use cooperation. he refused to use the word compromise. he did say, however, there is plenty of room for common ground. so we will see where all of this leads. jon, back to you. jon: and all of the fun starts about 20 minutes from now with the swearing in of this new
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congress. thank you. jenna: we'll continue to follow that story in d.c. in our newsroom our international desk is working on another story we are following closely today. for the very first time the israeli prime minister is formally asking for the release of convicted spy jonathan pollard. he has spent the last 25 years in a federal prison. leland vitter is live in jerusalem with this story. >> reporter: jen a, much like the night here in jerusalem this got a very frosty reception in wa*rbg ton. however, it is a big deal. the prime minister echoed what a lot of israelis are saying, jonathan pollard is very near and dear to their hearts and the prime minister said 25 years in jail is long enough. he apologized and asked for poller to be freed. he was a civilian employee of the u.s. navy when he admitted to passing thousands of highly
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classified documents to israel. it was seen as a very big deal at the time. he went to the israeli embassy, asked for asylum, that's when the fbi arrested them. i made he made a deal. a lot of israel me prime ministers have asked for clemency for pollard, though it has yet to happen. things have changed a little bit. this is an official request and the prime minister in his letter to president obama, which was read on television here in israel called pollard's actions wrong and unacceptable. the u.s. military is very upset over everything that has happened and pretty upset over how the israelis conducted things back in the 1970s. to give you an idea, back in the 1990s the clinton administration was thinking of pardoning pollard and then cia post george
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tennent said he would quit his job if he was given clemency. you can understand the maneuvering here is going to be a big deal. jenna: lee lan vitter in jerusalem, thank you. jon: breaking news, white house press secretary robert gibbs announcing he will step down as republicans take control of the house. now the question is, who takes his place? also, much more on the brand-new congress and the power shift in washington ahead. america is asking, and harris is all over the live chat, which is rolling today. >> reporter: i'm also on twit err. the avatar for robert gibbs just popped up a little while ago. he has been on twitter all morning long, not talking about what he's going to be doing next. when you're online on a live chat our just all over the place and people are talking about a lot of topics. right now on go and find america's asking, it's right underneath the picture of robert gibbs lifting up his
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glasses. you can click on it, it's in red or you can go straight to our page with jon and jen a's beautiful picture and get in on the conversation. they are talking about fighting the deficit. sir jack says the first bill should be a 25% cut in all federal spending. people want to get sirius about how much we have going out of our pocketbook. stay with us right here on "happening now" we have much more. ♪ [ male announcer ] you like who you are...
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jenna: happening right now john boehner is getting ready to take the gavel from nancy pelosi as speaker of the house. many are trying to under score the significance of today and change of power. an editorial in the "wall street journal" says this. quote, in march perhaps the sharpest ideological shift in the house in 89 80 years, and it could set the stage for a meaningful two-year debate over
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the role of government and the real sources of economic prosperity. of course economic prosperity is no important for all of us and for our nation. let's talk more about what the new congress means for the economy with neil cavuto, he is traveling down to d.c. to take on the festivities. >> reporter: boy, this is a busy town today. man oh man. it's pretty busy. jenna: place to be. you see that set up from the "wall street journal" talking about the significance of this congress. what is your take on what this new congress means or could mean for our economy, and our economic future overall? >> reporter: well, obviously they've got a lot of pressure and high expectations on them. i do notice that a number of the republican leadership are trying to pierce that a little bit and bring those expectations down. one thing that struck me is this idea that the republicans are going to immediately cut a hundred billion dollars worth of spending.
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they've already indicated that might be easier said than done and it might not be the one billion. i've been crunching some of the numbers, even if they were to do that it still puts us up against that debt ceiling limit in about two months. that's about 14 and a quarter trillion dollars. we are north of $14 trillion in total debt. the to it alamount of money we collectively owe. even if we you were to repay that money we'd still have our backs up against the call. there in lies the rub. what do you do, raise the credit limit, extend the credit line? keep cutting spending? what? i talked to rand paul and ron paul and this subject, both said they would be dead set against raising that limit, which means temporarily at the very least this country goes insolvent. both of them saying better to make a short term statement than to repeat the behavior that leads to that insolvency. it's a raging philosophical
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debate and a real economic one. i think the reality of this country potentially not making good on paying its debt is going to be a problem. but the republicans say they hope to avoid that problem by aggressively cutting that spending right away. the proof will be in the pudding, and they've got to start cooking fast. jenna: the white house has come out and said, hey if you guys stop spending you're going to really set back to economy, you're going to lead to less job growth at a time when we really need it. that's what the budget director recently said. when you've been talking to ron paul and rand paul they had that tea party element, this idea about cutting spending. how much do you think policy is going to dictate job growth or where the economy is headed at this point? >> reporter: you mentioned what the administration said. he they do have a little bit of wind at their back. the late owes jobs report you indicated that is showing a sudden spurt in jobs and improvement, something that might be in evidence on friday when we get the full national jobs report out. that might be a reason for them
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to continue, say, steady course, don't do anything drastic, don't reverse the spending. when i talk to a lot of the tea party candidates and a lot of new congressmen coming in here they say taking spending out of the government's hands and leaving it in the private sector's hands will keep that growth going all the more dramatically. so there is, again this big philosophical chasm the likes of which we haven't seen in this town in many a decade. that is going to be the battle royale over the next two years. i've got to stress, even if we were to stop spending period, just stop it now, we are growing our debt, the interest and finance charges on our collective visa credit line, if you will to the tune of $4 billion a day. a day. so when we are up against that debt limit in a couple of months we will already have pushed it 240 billion more dollars added to the red ink collectively we
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owe as a nation. that is the box republicans find themselves in. and that's the dilemma that they are going to be debating here with the president and others. it is safe to say that spending will slow dramatically but now you have to find yourself countering interest costs going up, spending going down, where do they meet? jenna: you never sound like a broken record to us, important stuff for us to hear. we appreciate you joining us. we'll be right back on "happening now." >> reporter: thank you.
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jon: big changes in the nation's capitol as the 112th congress convenes for the first time. and fox news confirms that a big change is coming to the white house as well. james rosen and the rest of the white house press core won't have robert gibbs to kick around any more. the white house press secretary stepping down from his job. kind of a surprise, huh, james?
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>> reporter: i think we will have him to kick around some more but not at the white house, john. good day to you where senior administration officials have confirmed that mr. gibbs will be relinquishing the podium some time in early february after president obama delivers his second state of the union address. the southerner, two months shy of his 40th birthday has been a close adviser to barack obama since the latter days in the illinois state senate. he will serve the president as an outside adviser and a surrogate speaker on his behalf in that capacity gibbs will increase his annual earnings and remain a more or less constant presence on cable tv news. this as president obama weighs a larger reshuffling of his white house team. in the wake of the departure of rahm emanuel to run for the mayor of chicago pete pauss has been serving in an interim capacity. he may soon be succeeded by
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william daily who is a big time democratic power broker with lots of wall street cred because he's now an executive at jpmorgan. no successor to gibbs has been announced. the leading candidates include two of his deputies bill burton and josh ernest. and jay carney. if burt tan gets tapped for the job he will be the first african-american to serve as press secretary. we are getting our first comments from president obama about the white house briefing. gibbs will continue to shape the dialogue politically for many years to come, the president adding we've been on this ride together since i won my senate primary in 2004. mr. obama adding that gibbs has had a six-year stretch where basically he's been going with 24/7 for relatively modest pay. i think it's natural for someone like robert to want to step back
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and refuel. jon: james rosen at the white house, thank you. jenna: you're taking a look at what we believe to be the motorcade of vice president joe biden. the vice president served as president of the senate. there he is as he goes on inside. he'll be swearing in 16 new senators. that kicks off at noon. of course we also have the ceremony in the house to follow. we'll be right back with this breaking story right after the break. ♪ [ male announcer ] we asked people all over america where the best tatoes come from. the best potatoes? idaho. idaho! idaho. [ male announr ] and how do you know you're getting idaho potatoes? well, uh... um... [ male announcer ] not all potatoes come from idaho. so if you want the best, you have to do one important thing. always look for the grown in idaho seal. i knew that. i kw that. [ male announc ] look for the grown in idaho seal. of nfl training camp to put our 24-hour frequent heartburn protection
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jon: wednesday is a new day on capitol hill. the clerk of the house lorraine ale mailer is calling the house to order as the 112th congress convenes. the new republican majority will take power once the roll is called then a vote will be taken to install ohio congressman john boehner as the 61st speaker of the house. hello i'm jon scott. jenna: i'm jenna lee. the house welcoming 94 new members, 85 of them republicans. once john boehner is sworn in as speaker he'll administer the oath of office, that is going to be to everybody at one time. over in the senate vice president joe biden is swearing in 31 senators, 16 of them are taking the oath for the very first time. a big percentage of these new lawmakers have impressive resumes but little or no prior political experience at all. about a quarter of them. how do they learn the ropes on capitol hill and what to expect over the next hour or so. bret baier is here to break it all down for us joining us from
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capitol hill. we are seeing live pictures now, it looks like a lot of folks milling around. where do we start and where does it all begin for some of the new members. >> reporter: let's start with the play-by-play for what i happening on the house floor. right at this moment the clerk of the house, lorraine miller has just gaveled the house into order. they are going to take a tally of all 435 members there. she will say that the states have certified the elections, there you see lorraine mailer gaveling the house into order. they will take a tally of basically a bed check to make sure all 435 members are there, then there will be a procedure in which they go down and check all of the people that have come to the house floor. eventually we'll get to a really hrebgs for the next speaker. it'areal, election for the spea.
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it's not automatic that john boehner gets the gavel. there will be democrats that vote for pelosi. some republicans will vote for john boehner. some democrats will not vote for pelosi. one by one they will say the person they support for the speaker of the house. it will be a process and a lot of pomp and circumstance. it is hard to every estimate the significance of this change over in power in the house of representatives. jenna: we'll talk a little bit more about that, just because we're seeing some of the process and it looks like the folks are standing up and taking a moment for a prayer, why don't we go and listen in here for a second and we'll be back to brett. >> lord send forth your spirit and refew the face of the earth. may the spirit of the living god descend upon this chamber, that from here may come forth good news for the poor, healing for the broken hearted, and renewed hope in the nation.
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let there go forth a proclamation to the people that captivity has ended, and the action of true politics will set this nation free. by setting single minded selfinterest aside in the search for the common good may a just society flourish with the gifts of your spirit and be recognized by others for its equal justice, unity and peace. lord, may the 112th congress of the united states of america be an instrument of your goodness with abiding laws embraced and clarity and policy statements reaching beyond institutional thinking and public opinion polls. may every human life in this
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country be renewed with dignity and purpose so we may truly be the glory given to your name as the free children of god, made in your image, and conformed to your saving grace both now, and forever. amen. >> amen. [applause] jenna: there was a politically poignant prayer. we are hearing that that is not typical that is not the same prayer that is read every time this happens. you got a little taste of some of the procedural things that are taking place, the head of the swearing in process. you can see families there. brett it back with us the anchor of special report as we take in this event. it is a family event, it's not just about these individuals. >> reporter: it's a big time family event. many of the lawmakers orin coming lawmakers have their entire families on the house floor. there are kids down there.
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in previous ceremonies like this. votes for speakers you had kids in the aisles playing with match box cars. and it does take a while, so if they are a little young they may be a little preoccupied with other things. as they go down the roll call for vote for speaker. now we talk a little bit about this freshman class, and there are 87 in all republican freshman, 96 is the total number. two of the republicans have already been seated. you look at this freshman class, it is the biggest freshman class in 60 years, and they will go through kind of an orientation. there was obviously an orientation as they came in before this day, but they'll also go through an orientation and their first votes, and the procedure of how it happens and some of those symbolic votes, like the repeal of healthcare that many of them campaigned on vigorously throughout 2010. jenna: let's talk a little bit about what is also ahead beyond this first day, brett, you
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mentioned a lot of fresh faces, a lot of fresh energy, we're talking about the tea party for the first time here in congress. there is also a pecking order as well amongst this group. how do the new members abg phra matacclamatebut maintain a sensn this process. >> reporter: i think that is a great question. the impact of the tea party is one of the stories going forward. we saw how strong it was on the election, how strong lit northbound the actual governing on the house and senate floor? how much influence will those lawmakers who surged to victories have within this republican structure? i think what you're seeing from incoming speaker john boehner is a respect, a healthy respect for the tea party, and some of the early moves that he makes will be indicative of that.
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the healthcare repeal. i said it's symbolic because we know that the democratic senate will not likely pass it and of course this president would veto it. but they will make that vote january 12th. you'll also see spending cuts votes very early on. and you're going to see tomorrow the reading of the u.s. constitution. that's a big deal for these tea party folks who campaigned very strict adherence to the constitution. and when they read it aloud on the house floor that will be a moment in which john boehner, i think will signal to the tea party that he gets it, he understands and moving forward he'll need their help. jenna: we are seeing the call of the house on the side of the screen with you brett. quickly as we finish up, what do you think the most important issue that is going to be defining this congress, this house of representatives this year? >> reporter: well, i think it's too fold and i hate to cop-out on you there, i think the healthcare fight, not only the
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repeal vote and the efforts by the house republicans to cut the funding. i mean like a thousand cuts, because all these committees are going to look into ways to cut the funding for obamacare. secondly and probably more importantly the deficit, the debt cutting to try to get spending, according to john boehner and others back to 2008 levels to start out with. we are going to have an interview tonight with the new house majority leader eric cantor and get into specific cuts and how far the republicans really plan to go in this initial few weeks. jenna: a big day certainly for congress and a big day for you as well, brett. happy anniversary, two-year anniversary. >> reporter: that is exactly right, thank you very much. jenna: we sent a gift to the bureau but you know you're not there today, it's waiting. >> reporter: maybe i'll drop too balloons tonight. thank you it's been quite a ride, big shoes to fill obviously with brett hume after all of his anchor errining of te
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show. thank you very much. jenna: a great two years and we thank you so much for letting us share those with you today. brett a special day as it is. special report tonight 6:00pm eastern time. brett is going to talk to eric cantor, you certainly don't want to miss it. it's a very big interview. jon: in just about the hour we will hear from the 61st speaker of the house, ohio republican john boehner. he is expected to set the stage for the spending battle that is going to play out this year. take a look at a preview of what speaker designate john boehner will say to the new session of the house. our spending has caught up with us he'll say and our debt will soon eclipse the size of our entire economy. hard work, tough decisions to be required of the 112th congress, no longer can we fall short, no longer can we kick the can down the road. interesting facts about this incoming speaker of the house. he is one of eleven children.
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the first of those children to graduate from college, and in fact he paid his way through college by working as a janitor. as we understand it this is the picture of the new speaker of the house there in the center of the photo. you can see him in the blue tie there, flanked by his ten siblings. let's check in now with jim angle who is live in our d.c. bureau. all right, so, jim, much is expected of this new congress. are they going to be cutting the budget or not? >> reporter: well they are, maybe not as much as people thought because of the clock. the republicans are definitely cutting spending, and they are definitely going back to 2008 levels for what is called discretionary domestic spending excluding defense and homeland security. >> if we were able to do with the whole fiscal year we'd reduce spending by a hundred billion dollars. republicans are going to start from literally day one to change the culture in washington d.c. from a culture of spending to a culture of cutting.
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>> reporter: now what pencs is talking about is that the cuts may not add up to a hundred billion because they don't have a whole budget year to work with. the government operates in a parallel universe as you know. the fiscal year runs from october to october. congress never even passed a budget last year so we are operating on temporary spending measures which run out in march. by the time any cuts could be implemented almost half the budget year will be gone. so cuts that would equal a hundred billion in a whole budget year will be a little more than half that for half a budget year. sweeney gave this statement to fox. house republicans will work to row dues spending for the final six months of the fiscal year bringing nonsecurity discretionary spending back to pre stimulus, pre bail out levels yielding taxpayers significant savings and starting a new era of cost cutting in washington. yes, republicans are going to cut as much as they can in the time they have left in this
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budget year. jon. jon: all of that that you just outlined, is that why critics are suggesting that republicans are sort of backing down right out of the gate? >> reporter: yep, that is understandable, you expect democrats to say that. they've been arguing that cutting spending as much as republicans wanted to was impossible and even undesirable. they will argue republicans just can't do it. now some republicans say don't expect any game-changers right out of the gate, it will be as one put it death by a thousand cuts and newly elected senator ron johnson puts it this way. >> we can certainly show the american people the direction the republicans, the conservatives will take this country, show the seriousness that we are serious about reducing the size and scope of the federal government. >> reporter: but he anticipates a fight with senate democrats and the administration over fulfilling those promises. jon. jon: jim angle going to be an interesting time for you in washington ahead. >> reporter: oh, yeah. jon: jim thank you. >> reporter: you bet. jenna: we are going to take you to the senate now.
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we're just going to listen in. that is the vice president joe biden serving in his capacity as city of the senate swearing in some folks. let's go ahead and listen. >> faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which you are about to enter so they you god. [they answered "i do." >> congratulations senators. [applause] jenna: so senator -- vice president biden has to sign in 16 new sepbs overall. it will be a busy day at the senate and the house. we are fooling the developing story out of d.c. we'll be back with more on "happening now." # constated? phillips' caplet use gnesium,
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jon: well, the swearing in of new u.s. senators is going on right now. the vice president in his capacity as chairman of the senate, president of the senate i should say, is welcoming them up to the well of the senate in groups of four, and then each new senator brings in usually a specially invited guest. you might have noticed in the first guest a former senator and former vice president of the united states, dan quayle was up there. i'm just guessing here, but i'm guessing that he was up there with his friend, dan coats the former senator and now new senator from the state of indiana where they both served. let's listen in. >> that you will bear true faith and allegiance to the same. that you take this obligation freely without any mental reservation for purpose of evasion, and that you will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which you are about to enter, so help you god. [they answered "i do" ]
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>> congratulations, welcome. [applause] jon: the senator of iowa there along with senator dan you'll inway of hawaii sworn in. each senator actually signs into this historic book. the clerk of the senate there handing the pen to senator grassley. he will sign in to record the fact that yes, in fact he is a member of this 112th congress. and on it goes. a lot of pageantry involved in this event today. the balance of power, 51 democrats in the senate, two independents who caucus. republicans have much more power this time around. there is talk of changing the filibuster rules. fox business network's peter
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barnes is live for us on capitol hill. what are the numbers, and what do the democrats want to do about it, peter? >> reporter: jon, we are talking about the way that the senate does business and changing that. critics of the filibuster say it is broken. one thing is for sure that senators have been using the filibuster increasingly over the years to block legislation and nominations. here are the numbers. in the congress just ended the 111 this senate leaders filed motions to block 136 filibusters. 20 years ago in the 101st congress they filed motions to block 38 filibusters, and in the 91st congress, 40 years ago, they filed motions to block just seven. now mitch mcconnell the leader of the senate republicans acknowledges that republicans have been using the filibuster more and more to block legislation, but he says that's because democrats will not allow republican amendments to their legislation. reformers who are critics of the
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filibuster process say they don't want to end it but discourage its use. tom udall will introduce a resolution that will prohibit the use of the filibuster on the initial motion to debate legislation. he wants to push it to the end of the process. he wants to eliminate secret holds on nominees and require anyone conducting a filibuster to be on the senate floor at all times. jon. jon: well, the filibuster is basically designed to protect the rights of the minority, right? >> reporter: that's correct, and the critics say that these changes will still do that. take a listen. >> what we're saying is on a controversial bill, the bill gets introduced, gets considered by committees, gets brought to the senate floor, gets debated, gets amended, and then let the filibuster rules kick in. but let's not do it at the front end of the session. jenna: there you see just
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walking in tw to the house of representatives, john boehner on his way to the chambers there, the presumed to be speaker of the house once that vote is going to be taken. remember that there is an official vote that has to take place between john boehner and nancy pelosi. we expect that vote, according to our capitol hill producer, an oral voting of the speaker in about 20 minutes or so. once that vote is taken, and once as we assume john boehner will win with the majority of the republicans and some defecting democrats away from nancy pelosi he will assume the position of speaker of the house. you can see a lot of procedural processes taking place in the meantime. we will continue to follow the story as we wait for the speaker to enter the chamber and also wait for the next several hours. jon: he's already got the sign on the door. we showed you that at the top of the broadcast, speaker of the house john boehner, a fancy gold sign on a mahogany plaque there.
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if he doesn't get elected it will be a huge surprise. jenna: these are things that have to take place before one can assume the position. we are watching a very important day of the 112th congress swearing in. we'll leave you with live pictures and be right back after a short break. jon: there was john kyl, senator from arizona who is backing up senator john mccain who will be sworn in today. all of the senators who ran for reee electric. it's not just the incoming senators, the new senators that get sworn n it's everyone who ran for re-election in november and won. let's listen in. >> foreign and domestic, that you will bear true faith and allegiance to the same and that you take this oath of obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, and that you will well and faithfully discharge the
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duties of the office on which you're about to enter, so help you god [they answered "i do" ] >> congratulations. [applause] jon: and in they come, another round, four by four they go up there to the well of the senate to be sworn in by senate president and the vice president of the united states, joe biden. so the senators sign the book and record their names. a lot of pomp and circumstance going on there today. jenna: there's usually one power play, i guess there is a lot today. hundreds in fact as everyone gets signed in on the house of
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representatives side and also in the senate as we were just showing you. the republican freshman in the house and senate are looking to make their mark on capitol hill. they have the wind at their back, there are five in if i can that you should keep an eye on. kentucky senator rand paul, wisconsin send ron johnson. chrichriscristie noem. west, and ma kin leave. let's talk out with the man that you call the top tea partyer in washington today. the folks on our chat board are really fired up about the tea party's president in washington. why rand paul, why is he so important? >> reporter: if you look at rand paul he is the embodiment of the tea party. he knocked off an establishment republican in a primary battle in kentucky and then had to move to the middle, if you will, to convince voters in kentucky that he was a sensible choice to
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represent the state. he did that, but there is friction, there is friction between paul and his very small government ideas, and mitch mcconnell who is the senate minority leader who is also from kentucky. the two of them don't see eye to eye on every issue. the reason we want to watch rand paul so closely is if he is getting along with mcconnell and the tea party is happy that is good news for republican. if there is friction in any direction that means that they are having a hard time keeping the team together. jenna: it will be interesting to see how the relationships develop after day one. there's been a house freshman that's been in high demand, maybe even more than rand paul. tell us a little more about cristie noeme. >> reporter: she is in in the house republican freshman class. everybody wants to know her. she got elected to a leadership position, the first freshman to be elected to a leadership position in a new post created by the john boehner administration. people like her a lot, she is
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very personable, she knocked off a moderate democrat, in a statewide race in south dakota. she's got a lot of friends inside the caucus and most importantly, perhaps is she's representative of the rise of women inside the republican party. what used to be a boy's club has opened up and there are a lot more conservative women inside the party. she is one to watch. as her fortune rides you'll see how the relationship between republicans and female voters is going. jenna: that is a relationship that is really important for 2012 as we move already ahead to that. there is congressman david mckinley. congressman david mckinley, a name some of us may not be as aware of as cristie, for example or rand as i use their first names. tell us about david mckinley and why his story exemplifies a bigger point. >> reporter: well you don't know david mckinley and probably neither do a lot of people in the first congressional district
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of west virginia. he won a very narrow election in a majority democratic district in west virginia. he's not important u.n. to himself, he's representative of a challenge republicans are facing right now which is can you transition from an anti-vote against democrats and the obama agenda to actually developing a relationship with voters and returning for a second term. if they can find purchase and republicans are successful and the brand improves they'll be back. if they are not that is a sign that this was a flash in the pan for the gop. jenna: real quick, here, chris, how do you think the relationships are being tpoefrpbld right now? are you getting any indication about how the tea partyers are being welcomed and how some of the freshman are being brought in to a class of people with some folks that have been there for years and years and years? are you getting any sense that of? >> reporter: well it's good timing that john boehner is the republican leader at this moment because he's very conservative and very much in line with their
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way of thinking. he's not some old fashioned or moderate democrat, he's very conservative. as somebody said to me today, he was tea party before tea party was cool. he's always been against earmarks and spending and the new protocols and procedures that he's put in the house have been popular with the outsider reformist. whether that lasts into the session who knows. but right now team john boehner and team tea party seem to be on the same side. jenna: we'll see again as it develops, a developing story if there ever was one. chris stirewalt with his power play of the day you can get powered up every day go to, click on politics, it's very easy and it's right there for you. jon: we touched on this a moment ago. senate democrats are now calling for a major change of the rules. if it were to pass it would be historic, pushing to make it harder for republicans to launch a filibuster. we will be talking to brit hume as to why democrats feel this need to change the rules and how it could change the way lawmakers do business in that
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jon: we are continuing to watch the pageantry in the senate there on the left of your screen and the house of representatives there on the right of the screen as the 112th congress convenience. just saw a couple of the rising stars of the republican party sworn in as
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senators, marco rubio, from florida, and john thune of south dakota. thune talked about as a possible presidential contender. it is always interesting to watch the faces that parade before you on a day like this. we are also waiting a briefing from the white house press secretary robert gibbs who has announced he is going to be leaving that job effective next month. jenna: i believe we do have some live pictures. if we do, we're trying to get them up for you. there it is, the briefing room where we expect robert gibbs really any moment. he has a press previousing scheduled for 12:30. it is a busy day as you can imagine down in d.c. we have confirmed he is stepping down. this is as james rosen was telling us expected. the question is, who will take his place. that is a big question and we don't have the answer to right now. this will be important for this administration moving
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forward. robert gibbs is expected to leave officially in february after the state of the union. jon: it is a historic day in the nation's capitol. in all 16 new senators are being sworn in by the vice president joe biden. let's get some prespective on this with fox news senior political analyst, brit hume. brit, to the robert gibbs departure, it was speculated for quite some time he would be leaving but kind of interesting he would chose today of all days to make it official. what is behind of that? >> what happened, news leaked out and forced his hand. i'm not sure he was necessarily prepared to make the announcement but when it got in the press as things do in washington he needed to say yea or nay and it was a true story so here we are. jon: all right. let's turn our attention to this 112th congress, 16 new senators getting to work and the new members of the house of representatives as well. there is, there seems to be this national feeling that
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this congress really needs to get to work, really needs to change some things or this country would be in some real trouble. do you expect that, you know, that is actually going to get done? >> well, some things will get done. some things will get voted on and ultimately not done. one thing that think will get done is, there will be some fairly significant reductions in the level of spending and that there will be not very much growth, if any in spending, although in some categories it might go up. but i think you will see a very different atmosphere in spending that is clear enough, because the house of representatives simply won't go along with any increases in spending and will insist on reductions. i think all the politicians in washington got the news from the electorate, including the president, people think the spending is out of hand. that will happen. a repeal of obamacare which will be acted on by the house next week and in all likelihood will pass the house will not happen because it either won't get through the senate or by
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some miraculous event it did it would be vetoed by the president and certainly votes are there among democrats to sustain such a veto. jon: brit, as you know, we get interactive with some of our viewers during the newscast and we chat with them and so forth. bonnie sent a line, brit is the best. michael says he loves brit human. wanted to let you know. >> you can tell you have some very discerning viewers. jon: we certainly do. the best. >> thanks to both of them. jon: let me read you a quote. you probably saw it in a potical op-ed piece that senate majority leader harry reid wrote. he writes, we will continue as democrats he means, we will continue to reach out to republicans as partners in problem-solving. that might come as some surprise to republicans, huh, brit? >> well i think it has been a pretty partisan-bruising couple of years but in the senate it will be more true than it has ever been that you can't easily get thing done unless you bring members of the opposition party into the action. republicans were accused of
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obstructing everything that the president wanted to do in the first two years. republicans retort is, that they were not brought in for any serious consultations. they were not, their ideas were not incorporated into any, in any major way, in any of the major legislative enterprises, health care reform, the stimulus package and so on. so, but with a larger cohort of republicans this time around it will be more difficult than ever to do anything without republicans going along and, of course you've got the republican house that has to be contended with as well. so democrats, if they want to try to do something are going to need republican help. jon: so now you've got the prospect of tom udall, an incoming senator, a brand new senator from new mexico, apparently plans to introduce today, if not in the next day or two, legislation that would severely change, or radically change the filibuster process in the senate. what is that all about?
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>> this is essentially what used to be called the nuclear option, jon, when republicans were trying to do it because they were frustrated with the filibuster being used, potentially being used to block judicial nominations from action by the senate. basically what this comes down to a change in senate rules to allow debate or extended debate, i.e., a filibuster, to be cut off so that i can move to action. it takes 60 votes to do that now. used to take 67. that was changed back in 1975. this would mean you could do it with a simple majority. there is some dispute what the precedents say about this. but on the first day of a new congress, it is argueable that the rules of that congress have yet to be established and must there for be adopted. they can there for, which means the filibuster rule or the rules that permit a filibuster are not jet in effect which would then allow you to change things and cut off debate on
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changing things by simple majority. the precedents on this are murky. i've gone and done a little research myself and i can't tell you with any precision exactly what they say. it would be a very big step, jon and i don't think they will do this today. i think the measure may come up. i think senator reid will close the business in such a parliamentary way the legislative day which is term of art will be extended for a while and have a negotiation possibly reforming the filibuster. what might come out of that might be very good indeed. elimination or change or end one with majority vote but something may come. jon: fascinating to me, at least, they give this unpleasant job to a brand new senator, somebody who really has no legislative record. >> well he has been an activist on this of course he comes from a long line of prominent democratic politicians. so he is no stranger to the process i don't think but, he will try to do it.
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my guess it won't happen today but he may raise the matter and that would get it before the senate and the prospect of something handing on might force compromise discussions and something may happen. there is a lot of abuse of senate rules. jon, you hear all the time about some nomination for important foreign post has been held up because of some senator putting a quote, hold on it and it is not always easy to find out who that senator is. jon: right. >> that seems an abuse. i think most americans would agree with that. that might be changed as well as part of a package of senate rule changes. jon: brit hume has long been covering capitol hill. our senior political editor, do i have that right, brit? >> analyst. analyst. jon: analyst. >> i gave a speech recently and they spelled analyst, making me an analist. people might have felt better. jon: thank you, brit. >> thank you, jon. all the best. jenna: take you back to the
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house. this is very important vote for speaker of the house is takes place. jeb hensarling of texas, nominated john boehner to a rousing round of applause. then house democratic caucus chairman john marsden of connecticut nominated pelosi to a round of applause. she appears to be there with one much her grandchildren. the votes take place alphabetically for the speaker. you see it start it now. do you want to listen in, guys? unfortunately we don't have any audio. it will take place over the next hour. it will take an hour for everyone to cast their votes as we mentioned before. it is widely expected john boehner will be speaker of the house. it will be interesting as they each go up you will hear who they vote for and some democrats are expected not to vote for nancy pelosi as more of a symbolic gesture. jon: crowded in the house todays awe can see. you were talking about it earlier about how, members are allowed to bring in family members and so forth. young children are there.
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always fun and festive day in washington on day like this. as you can see, a little bit crowded there. jenna: big job ahead. a busy day on capitol hill. both the house and senate are back in session and it won't be long before they get down to business. we've been asking for your questions about this new congress. e-mail us directly or put your questions is on our blog. twitter account also works. go to and hit your tab for america's asking, you join the live chat. there are a lot of you on there today. we appreciate it. we'll bring in the town hall panel. larry sabato, director for center of politics at the university of virginia. we have former louisiana senator, john breaux. the chief deputy whip for the democrats is joining us as well. former senate majority leader trent lott, republican from mississippi. both senators also served in the house. we appreciate such a great group with a lot of expertise. thank you, gentlemen. >> thank you. >> glad to be here. >> thank you. jenna: we have a lot of different questions coming in from our viewers. one of them has to do, well
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with the tea party and what is really next. mark has this question, larry, and maybe giving us some context of what we've seen in past congress. mark wants to know, what is the first thing the 112th congress will tackle to control government spending? larry, what do you think? >> well, there will be some preliminary moves obviously and some symbolic votes like repealing health care which obviously isn't going to go further than the house. but i think the real critical moment comes in march or april when the debt limit comes up before congress. and either it is raised or it isn't. if it is raised, i think it is obvious that the tea party members on the republican house side and maybe many others will join forces to try to attach a number of conditions about spending and, to bring down the deficit. so i think that's the critical moment that we're all waiting for. and it should happen in march or april i believe. jenna: one of the votes we're going to be looking ahead to, one as you
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mentioned, larry, about health care. senator lott, a lot of questions about health care on our board as well. ron wants to know, what is the point of the obamacare repeal when enone knows it will get repealed by the president if a repeal actually make the it through? what do you think about that, senator lott, is it important symbolically or what is the reason for republicans doing it now? >> i think it is important symbolically. a lot of american people do not think that was good legislation and republicans want to show an effort to repeal it and replace it with some better provisions. so i think they feel it's important that they show that they got the message, they're going to make the effort. it may not get the through the senate or would probably be vetoed by the president. but then i think they can turn to correcting pieces of it where there are clearly partisan, bipartisan issues that can be addressed on that. and then there are also going to begin to focus what do they do to get the budget under control. they need to do that before they get to the debt ceiling
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increase or they will have real problems passing it. >> senator breaux, i would love your thoughts on that question as well. also your thoughts you came into your political career at the age of 28. one of the things that is really important to mention about this freshman class there are so many young politicians that are now participating. what would you tell that 28-year-old self of yours, if you had to give guidance to a young politician entering this realm for the very first time? >> jenna, first thing i would say no who your colleagues are and reach out across the aisle and meet republicans if you are a democrat and vice versa. those relationships are just as important as the rules of the house of representatives. get to know your colleagues. on the question of the repeal of the health care bill, congressional budget office, which is nonpartisan has said that existing health care legislation in place saves $143 billion. so if you're going to repeal the health care bill, how are you going to make up for
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the lost revenues that the congressional budget office says the bill would bring in? are they going to pay for it or are they going to ignore the congressional budget office figures on this? the real interesting thing that there are three parties in the house. there are democrats, the regular republicans and the tea party republicans. how do you balance those two republican parties that will be a great challenge for speaker boehner. jenna: senator lott, we had another question come in from gwen. doesn't matter the political group. it is not really a partisan question. what about congressional pay cuts? do you think this time in congress to look at some of their benefits and pay? >> i think they have already have in the house. let me say about the house. this is happy day for me. i think john boehner will be an excellent speaker. i think he will be able to bring together the republicans in the house regardless of their regions or whether they're tea party or otherwise. he is going to include them. he is going to make sure their message is heard and so i think that they are going to begin to make some cuts. he right out of the gate
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said we're going to cut back on the spending that is allowed for the house of representatives, for the committees and then the appropriations committee in the house under hall rogers as chairman from kentucky, he actually doubled the cuts that are going to be taking place in the allowance for spending at the appropriations committee. i suspect there will be some other cuts that will actually affect the members too in the hoist. jenna: guys, we have a lot more questions coming up. and jon will take over in just a moment. jon, i think you have a question here for our town hall, just to give them a hint of what to expect. jon: we're talking about entitlements. a lot of our viewers want to know about entitlement programs. those eat up a huge portion of the federal budget. >> right. jon: social security and medicare. so senators and larry, we're going to be asking about entitlements and what approach should this new congress take. that is what our viewers want to know. that's next.
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jon: let's get back to our america's asking town hall. you ask the questions. we get you the answers. let's bring back in our panel. larry sabato, the director for the center of politics at the university of virginia, former louisiana senator john breaux and former mississippi senator, trent lott. senator lott, let me read to you a question from mary. it is more of a statement. she says social security is not an entitlement. her husband has paid into it his whole life and politicians have stolen it. there is that feeling among the american people that the social security trust fun basically doesn't exist anymore because it gets raided all the time. what do you say to americans who are concerned about the future of social security? >> well, social security has to be preserved and protected for the american people but you also have to pay attention to its solvency, looking into the future. so there are going to have to be some changes just
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based on demographics. at some point, not affecting people that already retired and probably affecting very few people that are even in the workforce now but --. jon: senator, i hate to interrupt you but we have some breaking news out of the white house. we'll get right back to you. robert gibbs, the presidential spokesman announced he is resigning. let's listen in for a moment. >> fire away. >> can you tell us in a bit more detail about what you're going to be doing next. you're not going to be lobbying or consulting, how would you define your next job? >> well, let me start by saying a few things, ben. it is, and you all know this because you, you do this as well and that is, it is an honor and a privilege to stand here, to work inside this building, to serve your country, to work for a president that i admire as much as president barack obama. i've been a member of his
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staff for almost seven years and it's, again it's a remarkable privilege. it is in many ways the opportunity of a lifetime, one that i will be forever thankful and grateful for. what i'm going to do next is step back a little bit, recharge some. we've been going at this pays for at least four years. i will have an opportunity, i hope to give some speeches. i will continue to provide advice and counsel to this building and to this president and i look forward to continuing to do that. >> in terms of advocacy for the president are you looking forward to the potential freedom that will come speaking for him but not being behind that podium? >> i, no, look.
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you know, we, look we're in a, we're in a very different political environment than we've been in a number of years in this country and i think whoever stands here or whoever goes on television to make the case for this administration should be an advocate for the decisions and the policies that are coming from this building. you certainly have to play that role. i'm not going in order to be freed up to say a series of things i might not otherwise say. i have enjoyed every time i've come out here and, even on days when you, i even every day, even when you wake up at 4:00 and pick up the paper and grown that you have a sense of what the first several questions might be. but i think it is important
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for this country and for an administration to come out here and advocate on behalf of and, on behalf of its policies and answer your questions. >> and you talked about how long you've been next to president obama. can you talk about the impact that you think your leaving will have in concert with david axelrod and already rahm emanuel? >> i will say this. one of the things you learn very quickly as you walk into this building each day, you are, you're struck by the sense that of the history of this place and you realize that whatever your length of service here, it is temporary in the long and wonderful history of our country. and i think it does an administration good, and i think it will do this administration good, to have to have people like david plouffe and others come into
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an administration who haven't been here, who have been able to watch a little bit from the outside. we all admit, you have to admit there's a bubble in here to some degree. so i think having new voices and having fresh voices. some of those voices coming back from having taken a couple of years off are an important part of this process. i think they will serve the president well, even as people like david axelrod and i go outside of the building and have a chance to talk to the president and people here with a slightly different perspective of not driving in here each morning. so it's, i think it's unique. i think it, but the truth is you walk around here and you see the history and such, i just reiterate again, you realize that for however long you're here, it's temporary. but what endures is, what
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endures is, our government. what endures is the great experiment of democracy that has proved to be such a wonderful thing for the world. >> mr. -- >> let me go around. i have a feeling we'll be here a little bit today. >> couple questions, one domestic and one international. the incoming republican budget chief of the house, paul ryan, is saying that he will demand spending concessions from the administration, for an agreement, for the willingness to lift the national debt ceiling. jon: robert gibbs, the president's spokesman, announcing he will leave the white house effective next month. he will still be continuing to consult for the white house but there will be a new face there in the podium in the press briefing room for the daily briefing. let's get back to our panel, two former senators, former louisiana senator john breaux and former mississippi senator, trent lott and lairry saba
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to, from center for politics at university of virginia. senator breaux, president bush tried to tackle social security as one of the prime objectives of his second term. he got shot down. is there anyone else willing to take on the so-called third rail of american politics? >> they certainly have to try, jon. i think the recommendations from the deficit reduction committee in dealing with social security and medicare and entitlement programs have to be listened to. you have to i think, increase gradually the eligibility age for retirement purposes and keeping it with life expectancy. i think you ought to means means test those as well. people from both sides of the aisle are going to have speak very frankly and hold hands and jump into this together. no party can do it by themselves. jon: senator lott, you have heard there is a real deer on the part of americans -- desire on part of americans
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to change in this election. congress said they have gotten the message. have they? >> jon, i think they have. i think it will be more than the new republican house. i think you will see some democrats that have gotten that message in the house and some in the senate too. i think the president will have to change some of his positions. some people might say, oh, boy, you're pollyanna, you believe things will get better. if you look at history, the recent history of when positive things are done, it is in situations like this where you do have the house of one party, the senate of another party, the white house of, one of the parties, the people in control of the senate. that is the case. if you go back look what happened in the early part of this century. in 2000, 2001, 2002, a lot of positive legislation actually passed with this type of divided government. jon: senator lott, senator breaux, larry sabato, from the university of virginia, good for you allo


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